|System: Xbox 360|
|Dev: SpikySnail Games|
|Pub: Microsoft Game Studios|
|Release: April 11, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Fantasy Violence|
And that can be one of the game's biggest issues: feedback. It doesn't really provide enough of it, to tell you what it is that you didn't do that you should have or that you did do and shouldn't have. Levels sometimes have fairly obvious intentions for certain Splatters, but most of the time it's up to you to come up with an efficient yet showy solution, and sometimes what you get feels awfully tame and exploitative. "This shouldn't really work," you'll say to yourself. "The game will find some way to punish me for it, right?" Except it will work and the game won't really punish you. Watching the uploaded replays of absurdly acrobatic rounds by top players, you'll find yourself thinking, "That's cool, but isn't that totally unnecessary?" The Splatters, despite its three-star rating system that demands replay of levels due to the excessive dearth between most two-star and three-star ratings, failed to lock into that circuit that makes me sink my teeth into a level until I've achieved a full rating in it, the one that has seen me spend hours obsessing over a single puzzle in Cogs, trying to find the most efficient solution instead of just "eh, whatever works."
I think the most damning thing about The Splatters is that, in a level-based puzzle game, I never saw a single layout that stuck in my mind. The best such experiences leave a real impression on me, a particularly devious and/or well-designed brain teaser that I describe excitedly to friends, or at least remember fondly from time to time whenever the game is brought to mind. Instead, in such situations, I find myself picturing the overly-jubilant Splatters and the hodge-podge pastiche of inspirations that formulate each stage, seemingly from the mind of a very structured and tame Dali.
This is a game that would be most at home on smartphones, alongside fare such as Angry Birds, retailing for a dollar or two and drawing crowds with its slick production values and simple yet enjoyable core gameplay. As a $10 Xbox LIVE Arcade title, though, it lacks variety and inspiration, its puzzles never providing an "aha!" moment nor doing enough to stand out on a purely visual basis. The game doesn't do anything inherently wrong, no, but it doesn't do enough right to justify its price, and that is plenty wrong in my book.
Date: April 25, 2012